Red Bull KTM Factory Rider Toby Price is sitting 4th overall in the 2020 Dakar Rally with 2 stages remaining.
The start of the second half of the 2020 Dakar Rally has been overshadowed by the untimely death of Paulo Goncalves – the experienced rally racer who for many years competed shoulder-to-shoulder alongside Price.
Casting a dark shadow over the 741-kilometre stage, the experienced 40-year-old Portuguese racer was competing in his 13th Dakar.
As a mark of respect, the motorcycle class Stage 8 from Wadi Al-Dawasir to Wadi Al-Dawasir was cancelled by event organisers ASO.
Stage 9 - 2nd
With Stage 8 cancelled in memory of Paulo Goncalves, the motorcycle class returned to action with the 886-kilometre stage nine from Wadi Al Dawasir to Haradh.
Crossing the Saudi Arabian ‘Empty Quarter’ riders were faced with a wide variety of terrain including dirt, sand and stony tracks as they navigated around canyons and riverbeds.
Price was immediately on the pace – posting the quickest time to the first checkpoint.
With the stage proving to be relatively straightforward, times at the top between the front runners were very tight.
Ultimately placing second at the finish, Price was just under two minutes behind stage winner Pablo Quintanilla.
“It’s been a long day today and with it being so fast, it’s was really difficult to make up any time on the others as we’re all so close on these full-gas stages. Obviously, it’s been a really tough day mentally but we’re still cruising along in the race and the main goal as always is to make it safely to the finish line. We entered the Empty Quarter a little today but to be honest we only had 30 kilometres or so of dunes. I’m hoping these next few days will feature more. There’s definitely a lot of kilometres left to go so we’ll just try and keep it on two wheels.”
Stage 10 - 4th
Overall Standings - 4th, 0:28:33 from the leader.
Stage 10 was set to truly test all competitors and their machines with a long 534-kilometre timed special from Haradh to the temporary overnight bivouac at Shubaytah.
In the interest of safety and due to the deterioration of the weather, the stage was cut short at kilometre 345, with riders then travelling to the marathon bivouac untimed.
Second into the day’s stage, Price had little in the way of tracks to follow as he made his way through the fast, off-piste route.
Despite some challenging navigation, which caught many riders out, the experienced Price was able to make his way cleanly to the refuelling stop.
With the stage then shortened, Price was credited with 4th fastest, just under 3 minutes down on the Stage 10 winner.
“My day has gone well. It’s a little frustrating that the stage was cut short as I was planning on finishing a little further back to make up more time tomorrow. It is what it is and of course it was definitely the right decision to make regards safety. The good news is, the bike’s in good shape and we’re all ready for tomorrow. Unfortunately, I’ll still be starting quite near the front, so it’ll be tough to make up a lot of time on the leaders, but I’m feeling strong and looking forward to the last couple of days.”
OVERALL DAKAR RALLY STANDINGS
1. Ricky Brabec (USA), Honda, 34:12:18
2. Pablo Quintanilla (CHL), Husqvarna, 34:38:02 +24:44
3. Joan Barreda (ARG), Honda, 34:39:27 +27:09
4. Toby Price (AUS), KTM, 34:40:51 +28:33
5. Jose Ignacio Cornejo (CHL), Honda, 34:53:49 +41:31